Digital Information Literacy among Health Sciences ... as: Brar, I. S. (2015). Digital information literacy among health sciences ... Digital Information Literacy among Health ... Material published as part of

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  • Proceedings of Informing Science & IT Education Conference (InSITE) 2015 Cite as: Brar, I. S. (2015). Digital information literacy among health sciences professionals: A case study of GGS Med-ical College, Faridkot, Punjab, India. Proceedings of Informing Science & IT Education Conference (InSITE) 2015, 531-541. Retrieved from

    Editor: Eli Cohen

    Digital Information Literacy among Health Sciences Professionals: A Case Study of GGS Medical College,

    Faridkot, Punjab, India

    Iqbal Singh Brar Malout Institute of Management and Information Technology,

    Malout, Punjab, India

    Abstract This paper is basically a case study and an attempt has been made to highlight the information literacy skills among the health science professionals i.e. teachers and postgraduate students of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College (constitute college of Baba Farid University of Health Sci-ences), Faridkot. The information literacy has various parts such as Computer Literacy, Library Literacy, Media Literacy, Network Literacy and Digital Literacy. The present study is only fo-cused on the assessment of digital information literacy among the health sciences professionals within the scope of the study. The data for the study was collected by using a questionnaire and interviews were also conducted to fill up the gap of the area in health domain special reference to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

    Keywords: Information Literacy, Digital Information Literacy, Health Science Professionals

    Introduction Information is a vital aspect of modern society. It is an instant power and tool to decision making, lifelong learning and self actualization to transform information into knowledge and vice-versa. The quality of decisions depends upon the availability of quality information.

    In this information age, the volume of information and complexity of the available information are increasing significantly. It is emphasis on acquiring of basic knowledge and skills to deal ef-fectively with information whether in print or digital form. The knowledge and skill of infor-mation sources in ones subject area, the ability to construct effective search strategies, the ability to critically appraise information sources and the ability to use these sources appropriately is called information literacy. It is the new face of user education programmes.

    In broader context, information literates have been described as those who know when they need information, and are then able to identify, locate, evaluate, organize and effectively use the infor-mation to address and help to resolve personal, job-related, or broader social issues and problems.

    Material published as part of this publication, either on-line or in print, is copyrighted by the Informing Science Institute. Permission to make digital or paper copy of part or all of these works for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage AND that copies 1) bear this notice in full and 2) give the full citation on the first page. It is per-missible to abstract these works so long as credit is given. To copy in all other cases or to republish or to post on a server or to redistribute to lists requires specific permission and payment of a fee. Contact to request redistribution permission.

  • Digital Information Literacy


    Digital Information Literacy: Concepts and Current Trends Qwusu-Ansah (2005) points out that the term information literacy was first used by Paul Zurkow-ski, President of the Information Industry Association in 1974. Zurkowski described the infor-mation literate individuals as people trained in the application of information resources to their work. During the 1980s, the term gradually started to replace the concepts of user education and library skills.

    In his comprehensive paper Information and digital literacies: a review of concepts, Bawden identifies various terms related to information literacy which have been in the literature. These include:

    - Information Literacy;

    - Computer Literacy;

    - Information Technology;

    - Library Literacy;

    - Media Literacy;

    - Network Literacy;

    - Digital Literacy.

    This study is focused on the last point of Bawden i.e. Digital Literacy. The investigator tried to investigates the digital information literacy among the health sciences professionals i.e. teachers and students within the scope of the study. Glister (1997) defines digital literacy as, set of skills to access the Internet; find, manage and edit digital information; join in communications; and otherwise engage with an online information and communication network. In simple terms, digi-tal literacy is the ability to properly use and evaluate digital resources, tools and services and ap-ply it to their lifelong learning process. The most essential aspect of digital literacy is the ability to make informed judgments about what is found online, for unlike conventional media, much digital information is unfiltered by editors and open to the contribution of all.

    In other words, digital literate people are able to:

    - Determine the extent of digital information needed;

    - Access the needed digital information effectively and efficiently;

    - Evaluate digital information sources and services critically;

    - Incorporate selected digital information into ones knowledge base;

    - Use of digital information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; and

    - Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of digital information access and use of this information ethically and legally.

    Digital Information Literacy is a major component of information literacy. It helps users cope with information from a variety of electronic formats and provides techniques and methods of collecting digital resources. It creates awareness of issues like copyright and intellectual property rights in an electronic environment.

    Information is available from many sources and in many formats, such as printed text, television, videos, library databases, web sites, and more. To be information literate one needs to know why, when, and how to use all of these tools and think critically about the information they pro-vide. One cant become information literate overnight. His abilities will improve over time as he gains expertise in the topics he chooses to investigate and as he practice searching for, selecting,

  • Brar


    and evaluating the information and ideas he encounter. In nutshell information literate students are supposed to:

    - Be competent, independent learners;

    - Actively engage in the world of ideas;

    - Confidently solve problems;

    - Know what the relevant information is;

    - Use technological tools to access information and communicate;

    - Operate comfortably in situations where there are multiple answers or no an-swers;

    - Have high standards for their work and use information ethically;

    - Create quality products.

    Problem Statement In todays modern society technological advancement opens gateways of very vast availability of information through digital resources but question arise are we aware of all the digital resources available to collect, organize and analyze the information? The answer to the above mention question is Digital Information Literacy. So, this paper investigates the digital information litera-cy level of health sciences professionals.

    Scope of the Study The present study covers the Digital Information Literacy (DIL) level of health sciences profes-sionals of GGS Medical College (constitute college of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences), Faridkot.

    Objectives of the Study 1. To recognize the e- resources needed by health sciences professionals and purpose for the


    2. To know the I.T. Skills that are needed for collecting, organizing and analyzing the digi-tal information among health sciences professionals.

    3. To investigate the searching tools and evaluation criteria used for e-resources by the health sciences professionals.

    Review of Literature Powell and Case-Smith (2003) conducted a study to assess the information seeking skills of Ohio State Universitys Occupational Therapy graduates. The results of the study revealed that a ma-jority of the respondents prefer to use information resources that are readily available to them, such as advice from their colleagues or supervisors (79%) and the Internet (69%), rather than the evidence available in the journal literature.

    Durando and Oakley (2005) described in his paper on developing information literacy skills in nursing and rehabilitation therapy students for Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. The short term goal of these programs is to teach undergraduate students advanced search strategy skills and critical appraisal techniques that will enable them to explore the implications of their literature findings.

  • Digital Information Literacy


    Maharana and Mishra (2007) conducted a survey of digital information literacy of faculty at Sambalpur University. The response rate was 66.7%. The study revealed that demand for e-resources mainly e-journals is on the top with 82.86% responses. A majority of the respondents i.e. 92.8% used the e-resources to keep their knowledge up-to-date. The study also revealed that authenticity and reliability are the most important parameters for evaluation of online infor-mation; and all the respondents expressed the wish that the library should take initiative in pro-moting information literacy at the university level.

    Karisiddappa and Rajgoli (2008) conducted a survey in search of information literacy pro-grammes conducted in selected institutions at Bangalore. The study revealed that more than 43% of the libraries are conducting information literacy programmes for the new users. The majority of the libraries are conducting IL programmes on searching techniques and use of electronic in-formation with response rate of 78.26%. The study also revealed that 95.65% of the respondents were agreed that information literacy programmes are helpful today as much of the information is available in electronic formats.

    Choudhury and Sethi (2009) conducted an analytical study on computer literacy of library profes-sionals in the university libraries in Orissa. The study focused on the self efficacy in the context of information literacy. The study was conducted to identify the level of skill and efficacy pre-sented by the library professionals of university libraries of Orissa, India. The study concluded that the library professionals are in the early stages of full-grown information literacy programme.

    The review of literature reveals that there is a large amount of literature available in the shape of survey and case studies to judge the various professionals, but no in depth study has been done on the health science professionals. The present study is an attempt to clearly exhibit the status of information literacy among the health sciences teachers and postgraduate students of GGS Medi-cal College (constitute college of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences), Faridkot.

    Research Methodology The investigator decided to use the survey method for the purpose of this study as a means to col-lect data. A survey instrument was developed in the form of a questionnaire (see the Appendix) and interviews were also conducted to fill up the gap if any. The random method was used to col-lect the data. The number of postgraduate students admitted at GGS Medical College was 50 and teachers were 100. A sample of 50% was considered for students (25) and teachers (50) to pro-vide satisfactory results. The investigator received 50 questionnaires back with a response rate of 66.66%. The respondents answers were entered into an SPSS database and results were comput-ed.

    Data Analysis and Results

    IT Skills of the Respondents The respondents were asked to indicate their Information Technology (IT) skills, which is the basic requirement to be a digital information literate person. The results of Table 1 shows that a majority of the respondents have knowledge of Internet applications i.e. 42(84%), and knowledge of MS-Office and Desktop Publishing Tools come on the second position with 29(58%) respons-es. 25(50%) respondents have knowledge of multimedia applications and only 3(6%) have knowledge computer programming language.

  • Brar


    Table 1: IT Skills of the Respondents

    Kind of IT Skills Yes No

    Internet 42




    MS-Office and Desktop Publishing Tools (DTP) 29




    Multimedia Applications (Audio, Video and Audio-Visual)





    Programming Languages 3




    Types of Electronic Information Resources The respondents were asked to indicate the electronic information sources needed by them for their academic pursuits. Table 2 exhibits that a majority of the respondents i.e. 41(82%) indicated that they required e-journals to up-to-date for their knowledge. E-articles and e-theses & disserta-tions, however, are needed by 32(64%) and 17(34%) respondents respectively. The need for other sources of e-information such as e-databases, and e-books is not significant.

    Table 2: Types of E-Information Resources

    Type of E-resources Yes No

    E-journals 41




    E-articles 32




    E-books 5




    E-databases 6




    E-theses and dissertations 17




    Purpose of Using E-resources Table 3 indicates the purpose of using electronic information resources. A majority of the re-spondents i.e. 47(94%) stated that they need electronic resources for the purpose of enhancement in their present status of knowledge. 39(78%) respondents required e-resources to support their research work, followed by 30(60%) for preparing their assignments and for writing papers for publication. 26(52%) indicated that they needed e-resources to prepare their course material for teaching and learning, followed by 18(36%) to attend or organize seminars/ workshops.

  • Digital Information Literacy


    Table 3: Purpose for Using E-resources

    Purpose of Using Electronic-information Resources Yes No

    To update their knowledge 47




    To support research 39




    To prepare course material for teaching and learning 26




    To attend or organize seminars/ workshops 18




    To write papers or assignments 30




    Use of Internet Searching Tools The electronic information sources are generally access by using of various searching tools avail-able on the Internet. Table 4 depicts that 49(98%) respondents use the Internet search engines for searching any resource...


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